Protecting our Children
“Christ has no body now but yours - no hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion on this world….” – St. Teresa of Avila
We must seek legal reforms that will protect children from sexual abuse in their homes, their schools and their places of worship. The vulnerable must be protected and the injured must receive justice. Abusers and their enablers must be held accountable under the law. We must proclaim to public officials and all people of good will that our society has an obligation to love and protect the innocent. We must ask public officials and Church leaders to do something about it today.
To allow survivors of child sexual abuse who are already beyond the age allowed by statutes of limitations for filing a civil suit, VOTF supports legislation to either eliminate such statutes retroactively or suspend them for a period long enough to allow these survivors to have their day in court.
Click here for background details on the above resolutions.
Reform state laws to strengthen the protection of children from sexual abuse, afford justice for survivors of child sexual abuse, and hold accountable any individual or institution that aids or abets child sexual abuse.
Particular kinds of legislation will be determined on a state-by-state basis, based upon what laws are already in place, and upon the goals established by Voice of the Faithful members at the state level. Kinds of legislation pursued may include:
This work is already underway in several states, and slated to get underway in other states soon.
We recognize that each state’s leadership team and volunteers must discern for themselves their campaign objectives and timelines.
We invite you –each of you— to make a personal commitment to the message St. Francis heard, “Francis, rebuild my Church.”
Click here to learn more about Statutes of Limitations in your state and around the country.
Click here to see VOTF's Protecting Our Children Ad in National Catholic Reporter. Forward this ad to any publications that will run it at no cost.
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We are pleased to announce the creation of an advisory group that will prove to be vital resources to the National Campaign for Accountability. The Legislative Accountability Advisors (LAA) consists of legislative experts from across the country, who have recently dedicated themselves to the following:
If you need help or advice with regard to a legislative campaign, please contact a Campaign leader in your state here.
Why A Campaign for Accountability: Protect Our Children
The Catholic Church is a church in need of accountability. For decades, church leaders failed to protect innocent children from sexual abuse by Catholic priests, including acts of unspeakable depravity. Because these leaders were unaccountable, the children suffered.
For decades, bishops, with few exceptions, ignored allegations, resisted claims, and employed legal and public relations tactics to thwart justice for victims of abuse. Because the bishops were unaccountable, the children suffered.
Today, church leaders still ignore the cries of the innocent. Children cry
out for help. Anguished parents plead for the truth. Survivors cry out
for justice. Catholics pray and work for reform. Jesus Christ called us
the innocents. But those church leaders who refuse accountability ignore
the cries and pleas, and the children suffer.
What We Know
Over 12,700 documented cases of clergy sexual abuse occurred in the United States since 1950. We know that these numbers are a vast understatement of the total number of clergy sexual abuse cases.
More than 5,900 Catholic priests have been credibly accused of acts of sexual abuse. Most have abused more than one child. Some of the most notorious perpetrators, like John Geoghan, abused as many as 150 children.
Bishops have not responsibly dealt with the problem of sexual abuse. Instead, they have participated in the cover-up, transfer and protection of abusive priests.
Survivors of clergy sexual abuse are still coming forward. New cases of abuse still occur. Abusers are still being convicted and imprisoned, while their enablers go free, refusing to accept responsibility and remaining unaccountable.
We know that the Catholic Church cannot be reformed — will not be reformed — without the insistence of millions of Catholics that our church become a Church of Accountability.
Feb. 09, 2006 - The
Continuing, Coast-to-Coast Battle Between the Catholic Church and the Law
on Childhood Sexual Abuse: Why It is Time for Federal Legislation - By
In addition to pursuing changes in state legislation, some groups may be looking for opportunities within their parish or diocese to improve child safety. These groups should seek support from the Protecting Our Children (POC) Working Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Join the Protect Children Through Legislation Yahoogroup by sending an e-mail to PCTLemail@example.com.